Name of Book: Snowshoe Thompson
Author: Nancy Levinson
Audience: Ages 3-6 (I Can Read)
Literary elements at work in the story: Easy-to-read books often suffer from the use of limited vocabulary and sentence structure, but Levinson has overcome both of these obstacles. This story is as compelling and interesting as any book for young readers.
How does the perspective on gender/race/culture/economics/ability make a difference to the story: Historically correct, this story shows the hardships of the early west without being stereotypical. A map and historical notes at the end add to the book’s authenticity.
Summary: Danny has written a letter to his dad, who is mining gold over the mountain. However, due to the winter snows, the mail cannot be delivered until spring. Danny is upset. Spring is so far away. But all is not lost. John Thompson says he knows a way to get the mail through. He begins to make long strange “snowshoes.” As he does all think he is crazy, all except Danny. As he helps John make his strange shoes that John calls skis, he begins to understand how John will do what all say is impossible. John travels the 90 miles over the mountains and returns with a gift for Danny, a letter from his father. The letter says his father will be home for Christmas, but how? Why on skis, of course!
Scripture: Ezekiel 37: 1-14
Theology: “Behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are clean cut off.” The exiled Israelites felt as hopeless and helpless as Danny. How does one get past that hopelessness? How does one get the mail over the snowbound mountains? How does one do any seemingly impossible task? With faith, hope and the ability to see past the impossible to the possible. How do we gain that hope? We do as Ezekiel tells the Israelites; we look towards God when faced with an “impossible” task and there you will find the possible.
Faith Talk Questions:
- Was Ezekiel really trying to make dead bones live again?
- Why did the Israelites feel hopeless like Danny?
- Ezekiel tells to look to God for a way past the impossible to the possible. Can you think of a time when you thought something was impossible.
- What did you do?
- What can you do to look towards God when you need help?
Note: Also try Chang’s Paper Pony by Eleanor Coerr for another historical easy-to-read book that has similar themes.
This review was written by regular contributor Janet Lloyd.
Snowshoe Thompson by Storypath is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.